Australian Open: The Top 10 Most Memorable Men's Singles Matches - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open: The Top 10 Most Memorable Men’s Singles Matches

From Rod Laver to Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka. Here are the 10 matches played at the Australian Open in the men’s singles draw that will never be forgotten. VIDEO inside.

Ivan Pasquariello



Original piece by Francesco Rio, for


1960 – Rod Laver b. Neale Fraser 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, 8-6


Back in 1960 the Australian Open were still called Australian Championships. All players participating were from Australian nationality – all but South African Trevor Fancutt – and to take the spotlight was 22-year  old Rod Laver. The win at the Australian Open remains the first greatest win for one of the all-time greatest. The grass in Australia perfectly suited Rod’s attacking game and supreme power at the net. Seeded at No.3, Laver first beat 2nd seed Roy Emerson in the semis, then won against expert Fraser in the final. Fraser won the first two sets quite comfortably, until Laver managed to break his opponent’s serve for the first time in the third set. From that moment on the match turned around and Rod entered tennis history.

1965 – Roy Emerson b. Fred Stolle 7-9, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1


Five years after Rod Laver, Roy Emerson put together another stunning comeback in the finals of the Australian Open. Seeded No.1, Emerson had beaten John Newcombe in the semifinals in three sets. In the last act of the tournament he managed to come back from 2 sets down, winning against No.2 seed Fred Stolle. It was Roy’s 4th title at the Australian Open, surely the most intense and emotional triumph.

1988 – Mats Wilander b. Pat Cash 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-1, 8-6

After losing 12 months before in the final to Stefan Edberg in Australia, Pat Cash was determined to take the title home the following year. Another Swede though, broke Pat’s dream. Mats Wilander had already won the AO title in 1983 and 1984 and surely knew how to conquer the Australian heat. The two battled for 4 hours and 28 minutes, the longest ever before Djokovic and Nadal in 2012. It was Mats’s 5th Grand Slam title, the first conquered on hard courts. For Cash, champion in 1987 at Wimbledon, that became the second defeat in a major final.

1991 – Boris Becker b. Omar Camporese 7-6, 7-6, 0-6, 4-6, 14-12

Back in 1991 Boris Becker arrived in Australia having already won 4 Grand Slam titles and finishing runner-up the year before at Wimbledon. Boris faced 22-year-old from Bologna, Italy, Omar Camporese in an incredible third round match. After 5 hours and 11 minutes, Boris managed to win the match. The German would then end up winning the title beating Ivan Lendl in the final. The match remains one of Italy’s all-time highest moments at the Australian Open.

1995 – Andre Agassi b. Pete Sampras 4-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4

The final in 1995 put one against the other the two best players of the World at the time. No.1 Pete Sampras vs. No.2 Andre Agassi. Pete had to fight hard to reach the last act in Melbourne. Agassi had to come back from two sets down in the 4th round against Magnus Larsson and then again in the quarter-finals against compatriot Jim Courier. Agassi had a much easier path to the final, without dropping a set. After losing the first set, Agassi just played one of the best matches of his career, becoming unbeatable on court that day.

2003 – Andy Roddick b. Younes El Aynaoui 4-6, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 21-19

Quarters-final match between 9th seed Roddick and 18th seed El Aynaoui. What was supposed to be an easy match for the American turned out to be a 4 hours and 59 minutes battle, an 83-game match. The quality of the match was stellar.

2005 – Marat Safin b. Roger Federer 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6, 9-7

After conquering 3 Slams in 2004, Roger Federer was already being pointed out to be the next great thing ever seen in tennis. At the Australian Open in 2005 the Swiss was the obvious favourite and defending champion. Safin had lost in the final to Federer in Melbourne the year before in his comeback tournament, after falling down in the rankings. The 2000 US Open champion played a superb match, impeccable on his backhand, to take the win and conquer his second Grand Slam title two days after, beatin Lleyton Hewitt in the final. Probably one of Safin’s all-time best performances.

2009 – Rafael Nadal b. Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2

After playing what was defined as the best match in tennis history in 2008 in the finals at Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met again in a Grand Slam final, this time in Melbourne. Beating the Swiss after a tough start, Nadal won his first and so far only title at the Australian Open, to then complete the career Grand Slam one year after winning the US Open. The match went down to history also for Federer’s tearful speech after losing the final and seeing Rod Laver hand the trophy to his historic rival.

2012 – Novak Djokovic b. Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5

The longest final in the history of the tournament. Almost six hours of impeccable baseline battle. The Serb came to the final after finishing an incredible 2011 season with 3 Grand Slam titles, and having wont the title in Australia twice already in 2008 and 2011. In the longest match in the two’s rivalry, Djokovic came out on top. At the end of the marathon match, the two could hardly stand still during the trophy presentation.

2014 – Stan Wawrinka b. Novak Djokovic 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7

One of the most memorable quarter-finals ever witnessed at the Australian Open. That year Stan Wawrinka exited the shadow of fellow countryman Federer to move on and take the spotlight all for himself. In an incredible 4-hour marathon, Stan didn’t stop playing at his best on his one-handed backhand and ended up beating the Serb in five sets. The two best backhands on the tour facing one another. Few days after, Wawrinka celebrated his first ever Grand Slam singles title, beating Rafael Nadal to finish as champion of Melbourne Park. The name “Stanimal” was born.




US Open: Shelby Rogers Delivers; Serena Still A Threat To Win 24th Major




Serena Williams - US Open (photo Twitter @usopen)

After all of these years of playing in the U.S. Open, Shelby Rogers is finally a seeded player.


The Charleston, S.C., native has been playing America’s premier tennis event almost continuously since her debut in New York in 2010. She’ll turn 30 years old in a few weeks and has worked her way up the rankings to 31st in the world.

That’s a big achievement from the little girl who hung on the fences more than two decades ago to watch her older sister Sabra play high school matches that eventually led to an Al-American career for Sabra at Emory University. Sabra became a psychologist and, of course, is one of  Shelby’s biggest fans.


Rogers took the direct route. She didn’t play high school tennis, but left the classroom before high school to train in tennis, study online and play the junior circuit. She turned pro in 2009 at age 16.

Monday evening at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, It took Rogers awhile to start living up to her ranking. But once she turned the corner after dropping the first set in nine games, Shelby started looking like a seasoned top 30 player.

Rogers sort of blew The Netherlands’ slim Arantxa Rus away, taking a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the opening round of the U.S. Open. Rogers especially played the deciding 28th game of the match like the veteran pro she is. She hit one long forehand and netted one ball in that game, but otherwise she rode her big serve to victory in the clinching game. At 40-30, she delivered a huge first serve down the middle that Rus couldn’t put into play.


The way things are on the women’s tour these days, with no true leader while once-amazing top-ranked Iga Swiatek tries to regain her dominance, anything is possible.

Yes, even finally a 24th Grand Slam title for Serena Williams.

But this is about Shelby Rogers. She is playing the best tennis of her career nearly a decade and a half after her life as a professional tennis player started.

With any kind of luck, Rogers could leave New York ranked among the top 25 players in the world, or maybe higher if she continues to serve and play the kind of big-ball tennis she played  in the last 19 games Monday night.


So, what’s after Swiatek, who started the year on fire with a long unbeaten streak that went through the French Open and rewarded her with as many points as the confined totals of the Nos. 2 and 3 players. Of course, Ashleigh Barty’s retirement after winning the Australian Open opened the door for Swiatek’s rise to the top.

And then Wimbledon’s grass took care of Swiatek.

Nos. 2-5 Anett Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari, Paula Badosa and Ons Jabeur are all outstanding players, but none currently fit in the great column. They appear to be waiting in line for Swiatek or another Barty-like player to step forward to rule the women’s tour.


Then there are almost totally unknown players such as Ukraine’s Daria Snigur. I hadn’t given Snigur much chance at all on the pro tour until her shocking U.S. Open first-round victory over multi-Grand Slam tournament winner and seventh-ranked Simona Halep. 

The last time I had thought about Snigur was when she upended Charleston’s Emma Navarro in the Junior Wimbledon semifinals and then won the Junior Grand Slam tournament.

At Junior Wimbledon in 2019, I thought Navarro, who also is now on the WTA Tour and is currently ranked 145th in the world, would roll past Snigur the way she had in the 2019 Junior French Open quarterfinals. But Snigur is so deceptive with her ground strokes that strike like lightning, she dominated Navarro at that Junior Wimbledon.

So, maybe the currently 124th-ranked Snigur may be ready to make a mark on the tour after scoring her first tour victory by defeating Halep.


Without Novak Djokovic, the men are about as unpredictable as the women, with the exception of one player. Rafa Nadal, of course, entered this U.S. Open, with a perfect 19-0 record this year in Grand Slams.

Daniil Medvedev is the defending champion at the U.S. Open, but even though he is ranked No. 1 in the world, it’s a long road to the final for the Russian. Medvedev hasn’t always been predictable.

And already, No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas has been eliminated by a complete unknown, Daniel Elahi Galan.

Wow! The Greek star probably was about as much of a favorite as Medvedev.

And poor Dominic Thiem was cast on an outside court. And he lost. Just a couple of years ago, Thiem was winning the U.S. Open.

My top five picks in order would be: Nadal, Jannik Sinner, Nick Kyrgios, Medvedev and Andy Murray. Yes, Andy looks pretty fit.


James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Will Rafael Nadal Keep The Grand Slam Winning Feeling Going In New York?

Rafael Nadal has injury doubts heading into his search for a 23rd grand slam title in New York.




Rafael Nadal (@usopen - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal will look to repeat successes from Melbourne and Paris by answering his doubters with triumph in New York.


The Spaniard enters the last grand slam with injury doubts having only just come back from an abdominal injury suffered in his Wimbledon quarter-final against Taylor Fritz.

It was injury that saw his calendar grand slam dream come to an end and ever since then has been recovering in the hopes of finishing the grand slam year strong in New York.

However in his first match back Nadal was defeated in three sets to Borna Coric in New York which has put doubts on whether the Spaniard can be a threat in the US.

Nadal will likely not have to worry about Novak Djokovic but a victory in New York could see him be world number one with current number one Daniil Medvedev defending the title.

The likes of Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be standing in Nadal’s way and if the Spaniard isn’t match-fit then he could face an early exit.

However as tennis pundit Barbara Schett pointed out, ruling out Nadal at this stage would be foolish and the Spaniard always raises his level at the grand slams, “The match is always different from practice,” Schett told Eurosport.

“And whoever had an abdominal injury and a tear on the abdominal muscles knows how it feels. You have to be extremely cautious. You’re worried that you’re going to reinjure it again.

“And I think that’s what we’ve seen on Wednesday. When he played against Coric, he was a little bit uncertain how the body was going to hold up. And for sure he’s going to feel better and better.

“If there’s no damage to the abdominal muscle, then he still has a week and a half to improve his health, to improve the trust also that he can extend and he can’t bend on the serve because that’s the trickiest shot, the serve and the smash.

“When that is the case, Rafa Nadal certainly can be dangerous again at the US Open. I mean, he’s so fired up at every single Grand Slam. We’ve seen this year playing the best tennis of his life. You can never, ever write him off.”

Nadal is currently undefeated at grand slams and if fit, the Spaniard will certainly fancy himself to win another seven matches at the US Open this year.

Whatever it should be interesting to see if Nadal improves before the US Open with the tournament starting on the 29th of August.

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Does WTA Need A Top Rivalry To Drive The Sport?

Iga Swiatek is the WTA’s dominant world number one but does she need a rival in order to drive the sport to new heights.




Iga Swiatek (@TennisHandshake - Twitter)

The WTA has a dominant world number one and a variety of talented players on the tour but the one thing it’s lacking at the moment is a top rivalry.


First of all it was supposed to be Bianca Andreescu and Naomi Osaka, then Ash Barty and Osaka and also Barty and Iga Swiatek.

However none of these match-ups created a top rivalry over a long period to generate an overwhelming amount of interest.

After Barty’s shock retirement, many people were left disappointed at the fact that her and current dominant world number one Iga Swiatek could not compete for the sport’s biggest titles in a fierce rivalry.

Now Swiatek sits at the top of the WTA rankings with almost a 4,000 point lead at the top. The rest of the field are very talented and that in itself is an intriguing aspect of the WTA’s appeal.

But the one thing the women’s game lacks is a top rivalry to generate a hype that the ATP clearly has right now.

As Mark Petchey said it’s an issue that needs solving soon as every sport has one, “Rivalries drive the sport. What they do is make sure that it manifests itself in a big polarisation of a large fan base, against another one,” Petchey was quoted as saying by Tennis365.

“You look across the board, over F1, look at the tribal nature of AFL, of Premier League football here. It’s a huge part of what you need to have a successful sport. That is the one thing that is missing from the women’s tour at the moment, is a superb rivalry, with a little bit of edge.

“That’s why I say I’m sad that Ash pulled up stumps, because I think that rivalry could’ve developed with Iga in that way. Would it have been quite as intense as the Rafa-Novak and Roger-Novak rivalries? Probably not. But it would have been there. Going into every major saying that you’re not looking forward to a specific clash potentially when the draw comes out, does hurt the tour a little bit. 

“You can’t keep saying ‘oh, anyone can win it’. Because you’re just not tagging anybody… you’re not setting the scene for something amazing that’s going to happen, a nice little volcanic eruption right at the back-end of a major. They need some people to be a bit more consistent and getting through, because that’s what will be a massive driver for the WTA.”

It’s hard to argue with those points of view from Petchey as rivalries are what are talked about for decades after players have retired.

It will be interesting to see whether Swiatek will continue to dominate the rest of the field or whether someone can build a rivalry with the Pole heading into the remainder of the season.

The next big WTA event of the year will take place at the Rogers Cup in Toronto on the week of the eighth of August.

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